Warhill’s baseball players have released a public apology for “inappropriate actions” displayed on a YouTube video that resulted in the team having to forfeit Wednesday’s season opener against York.
The video, in which the players created their own rendition of the popular “Harlem Shake” dance, was published Tuesday after the team’s originally scheduled season opener against York was postponed to Wednesday due to rain.
Lions head coach Joe Henzel said the video was brought to his attention by Warhill High administration first thing Wednesday morning, when the decision was made that the team must forfeit their showdown with the Falcons that afternoon.
Warhill and York enter this season as two of the likely favorites to contend for the Bay Rivers District title.
“I was very upset,” Henzel said of seeing the video. “I get that it’s a trend – you see these videos popping up everywhere now it seems – but my guys allowed it to morph to another level and cross that line of appropriateness. … It didn’t represent our school or our team well, and a message had to be sent that it will not be tolerated.”
Henzel added that, as part of an agreement to prevent further punishment, his team had to remove the original video, admit their wrongdoings, accept responsibility and issue an apology “in a timely manner.”
Wednesday afternoon, the team released another YouTube video titled “Warhill Baseball Harlem Shake,” in which players stood up one by one and apologized for their “inappropriate actions.” The apology video has since been removed from YouTube.
Henzel said the team went with the misleading title in hopes that people searching for the original video would see their apology. He added that as poorly as his team represented the program in this instance, he’s confident that a lesson has been learned and his players will grow from it.
“Today was a day where the kids learned that a lot of people were disappointed in them,” Henzel said. “But like I told the guys, ‘The sun rises again tomorrow and it’s a fresh day.’ … When I accepted this job four years ago, I did so with the mentality of let’s never look back, let’s only look ahead. That needs to be our focus now moving forward.”
Warhill will return to the field Friday when they travel to take on Poquoson.